Preparing for Your Detox
DETOXIFICATION IS a natural process: it is what your body does every minute of the day and night to remove unwanted substances, whether they be the metabolic wastes produced by your body or the toxins that enter your system from the air you breathe, the food you eat and the water you drink.
Your body uses a variety of systems to clear toxins from the body, or to neutralize or transform them. However, a liver that’s working under par, poor digestion, a sluggish colon, or poor elimination through the kidneys, respiratory tract and skin, can increase rather than reduce your toxicity.
Following a detox programme is a profound way to assist this natural process. A process that affects both body and mind, it involves making changes to your diet and lifestyle to reduce your intake of toxins and improve the efficiency of your detoxification system. Cutting out the chemicals found in refined food, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and tobacco, for example, will help to lighten your toxic load. A more intensive programme will involve staying out of circulation for a while and shutting out stress. Yet detoxing is not new. It is one of the oldest known medical treatments and a completely natural process which has been found to help in a range of acute and chronic illnesses. For this reason many health practitioners believe detoxification therapy is the medicine for the next millennium.
A detox is a wonderful treat for your mind and body – a time of rest and rejuvenation. Once you embark on your chosen programme, be assured that it will demand 100 per cent commitment. Success and the increased sense of wellbeing that comes with it will depend on how you approach your detox. If you regard it as period of denial, your chances of sticking with it are greatly reduced. To boost your chances of success you need to be well prepared and in the right state of mind.
• Ask yourself the following questions:
o Why do I want to detox and what do I hope to gain?
o Do I want to he as healthy as I Gill he!
o Do I want to wake lip each morning brimming with energy and vitality!
o Do I want to stop feeling tired and lethargic and living with constant niggling complaints?
• Be prepared to meet objections or plain scepticism from family and friends. If you don’t feel up to dealing with this, tell only those closest to you.
• Keep a dream diary as a retrospective aid to help you work out what your dreams mean. While you are detoxing, you may find your dreams are more vivid than usual. These dreams may well be problem solving ones or even cathartic, reflecting the profound changes your body is going through.
• Last but not least, focus on the thought that your decision to detox will leave you feeling healthier than ever.
This focuses on the mechanics of preparing for your detox. To get the most out of your chosen programme you need to give yourself space and time.
• First read through the different programmes and choose one that attracts you and fits in with your lifestyle .
• Then decide on a suitable time, two or three weeks ahead.
Ideally, this should be a time that is completely free of any commitments that could throw you off course. If you have children, opt for a time when someone can look after them. If you feel your partner could prove to be a distraction, choose a time when he or she is away.
• Massage and steam treatments help the detox process. If you can, book up for a treatment at a local salon or health centre or arrange a home visit. A week or so in advance, start getting together all the extras you need to aid your detox .
• Have ready some pure essential oils, preferably organic, to use in your bath or in a burner to fragrance the air. Be guided in your choice by their fragrance as well as their properties.
• Buy some good books and magazines. These should be strictly easy reading. Avoid thrillers and horror stories which could raise your stress levels and also your toxin load.
• Rent a couple of gooJ videos – lightweight comedies and drama rather than hair-raising suspense. (Also, during your detox be choosy about what you watch on TV or listen to on the radio; negative images can be upsetting and raise your toxic levels.)
• Consider buying an ionizer to alter the electrical charge of the air in a room. This may help you feel vital and energetic.
• Buy a dry skin brush.
• Check through your CD collection, and if it is filled with heavy metal bands or atonal music, buy something more relaxing.
• Stock up on:
Herbal teas – a delicious complement to all the water you’ll be drinking. Beware, however; some herbal teas are little more than flavoured black tea and are packed with tannin and caffeine. Read the label to be sure that you are buying a caffeine-free – preferably organic – brand. Alternatively, make your own using dried herbs. To make a single cup, try tying 1-2 teaspoons of dried herbs in a small piece of muslin, or use a single-cup metal infuser. Place the bag or infuser in the cup and pour on freshly boiled water. Leave to stand for ten minutes.
Seasonings such as organic soy sauce, tamaric – a slightly stronger, wheat-free soy sauce – and miso. The latter comes in a number of varieties, depending on whether it is made from soya beans or barley, and tastes both sweet and salty (all available in health food shops).
Organic vegetables and fruit.
Organic grains such as wholegrain brown rice; quinoa, which has a mild taste and firm texture and can he used in sweet and savoury dishes; millet, which has a creamy, knobbly texture and needs to be generously seasoned, also makes a warming breakfast cereal; and buckwheat, although not a true grain is often bracketed together with them.
Bottled still mineral water (or buy a filter jug, or a new filter if you already own one).
Ingredients for hydrotherapy baths, such as Epsom salts.
• A couple of weeks or so before your detox you will need to start taking a lactobacillus acidophilus or bitidus supplement. Continue taking it throughout your detox to reduce the risk of side-effects such as constipation or diarrhoea.
• During the week before your detox, gradually cut down on – or give up completely – alcohol, caffeine (tea, coffee, colas), sugar, meat (especially red), milk, eggs and other animal products. If you smoke, try to stop, or at least cut down. These preparatory steps will ease you into the detoxification process.